When it comes to hair trends, we are spoiled for choice right now. From the “butterfly” haircut (boasting long, wide layers) to the “octopus” haircut (a modern, wearable version of the shag), there’s an Instagram-worthy look for all hair types and textures. But it’s fair to say that nothing is generating hype like the bob.
The bob is a surefire classic of course, but London’s hottest designers are getting creative. Lately we’ve spotted the ’90s version (blunt and sleek), boyish styles (with a natural, undone texture) and bobs with a French twist (slightly shorter at the front to lift the face). As we approach summer, however, the “bottleneck bob” is flooding the Instagram feeds of influencers and stylists alike. According to Google Trends, the search for the look has increased by a whopping 1,150% in the past month.
If you’re a regular at R29, you may have noticed our recent trending story on “bottleneck bangs”. The style sits between a curtain fringe that frames the face and something a little fuller, but isn’t too voluminous or dramatic. The bangs are a bit leaner and blend in with the rest of the hair on the sides, hence the name of the bottleneck. With bobs and bangs both on trend, it was only a matter of time before the two joined forces.
I’ve done a bob haircut before, but never thought about pairing it with bangs. To be honest, I’ve been terrified of bangs since the early days of Myspace (past and present emos, unite). As a result, I haven’t strayed far from my classic middle separation. But something came to mind as I scrolled through the #bottleneckbob hashtag on TikTok and booked a date with Grace Amelia at Hershesons Fitzrovia.
It’s always helpful to carry a reference with you, so I took a screenshot of this cut created by hairstylist Bobby Eliot for Ella Purnell and Selena Gomez’s new lived-in bob cut by Orlando Pita. We opted for a style much closer to the first, which is a blunt cut and does not feature layers. They can be quite difficult to style at home if you’re not a hand with the hair dryer, and the whole point of the bottleneck is that the bangs do all the talking, right?
Once my hair was washed and towel dried Grace began to peel off a few inches from my lengths using the razor cut technique favored by a number of London’s coolest stylists, including the very required Hair Bros. Opting for a razor to trim your hair on scissors lends it stretches a lighter feel and encourages swishing movements so that the end result has a natural texture, rather than looking or feeling blocky.
I have a rather long, oval face shape and was afraid that something too blunt or too short might not be right for me. But Grace reassured me that bobs can be tailored to fit just about anyone. This applies to all hair types when they are cut by a professional who knows your texture very well. If you have a lot of thick hair like me, your stylist of choice will likely opt for a pair of thinning scissors to take some weight off the underside of your hair so you don’t end up with the triangular look.
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Once the bob was cut, Grace moved on to bangs, which she cut at an angle to blend in with the rest of my hair for a casual, lived-in look. The bottleneck fringe is totally different from the swooshy, 70s-inspired drop-down bangs trending on TikTok right now, and the streamlined shape means it’ll be a lot easier to grow if you want to change things up in the future.
I can’t lie, the bottleneck makes me feel a total badass and I’m glad I bit the bullet, getting bangs for the first time in nearly 15 years and going a lot lower than it’s ever been before. The cut means that I have also said goodbye to my brittle ends, so my hair is much healthier and more supple.
Grace pulled my hair lightly to improve movement, but at home I’m lazy and just blow dry my hair rough, then smooth it out with ghd Glide Hot Brush, £ 159, which is a game changer for thick, frizzy hair . The key to styling bottlenecks – or any curtain-like bangs – is to invest in a round brush, says Grace. I love the Denman D75 Medium ThermoCeramic Curling Brush, 13lb, which has little vents to distribute airflow and give the hair real body.
When my hair is a little damp, I curl the bangs under the brush and dry it with the ghd Helios Professional Dryer, £ 179, always using the nozzle for accuracy and on low or medium heat to avoid damage. Then I ruffle my hair with some styling cream. Grace used Hershesons Almost Everything Cream, £ 10, on me, but I also rate George Northwood’s Undone Moisturizing Cream, £ 15, which lasts forever.
Before the cut I had a couple of blonde highlights sticking out, but like Selena Gomez’s style, I think the bob looks a lot more chic when my hair is all the same color. I used Josh Wood Permanent Color 5.0 Dark Brown + Smoky Brown Shade Shot, £ 19, to match my roots and enhance the shine.
The best thing about the bottleneck is that you can still fit it in a claw clip style and let the bangs – which should be longer at the sides – frame your face. On days when it rains or I don’t have time to get the heated styling tools out, this is how I will wear my hair. The bangs also look super cute and a bit ’90s when I bring it on and tuck the rest of the bob behind the ears. The inspiration? Prue from Charmedobviously.
It’s fair to say I’m sold by the bottleneck and if TikTok and Instagram are anything to build on, the style is sure to stick around for the summer.
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